David Price vs. Sergey Kuzmin this Sat. at Wembley Stadium
By Scott Gilfoid: David Price (22-5, 18 KOs) has a make or break fight this Saturday night against 31-year-old Sergey Kuzmin (12-0, 9 KOs) in a 10 round fight in heavyweight action on the Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin card on Sky Box Office at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is a bad match-up for the 35-year-old Price. He’s had MAJOR problems with both his stamina and his ability to take a punch without going down. Price’s poor conditioning appears to be his most overriding problem that could derail him on Saturday night against the tough but limited former Russian amateur talent Kuzmin.
Price is taking this fight with little preparation for Kuzmin, who is a replacement opponent for Sean Turner. There’s a HUGE difference in talent between Kuzmin and the journeyman Turner. The 6’8” Price likely would likely have wiped the deck with the short 5’11” Turner. One can’t say the same thing about Price being able to destroy the 6’4” Kuzmin. This is a much different type of heavyweight than Turner in terms of size, power and pedigree.
It goes without saying that Price’s management are doing him no favors by putting him in with a talent like Kuzmin on short notice. I wouldn’t wish that type of fighter on anyone, least of all against a guy that is struggling like Price is right now. This fight is a pure gamble on Price’s part. The chances are slim that Price will beat Kuzmin, but if he does win, it’s a huge shot in the arm in terms of bringing him back temporarily as a talked about heavyweight.
”David has got such massive ability, massive punching power, you can’t tell me he’s not capable of knocking out any heavyweight out there. He’s had a bit of a bad run, but he can’t lose that faith,” former two division world champion Ricky Hatton said to Sky Sports News about Price. “Nathan has just done six rounds with David Price and it was brilliant.”
Hatton thinks the hard-hitting Price can become a world champion if he follows former British heavyweight Frank Bruno’s lead by believing in himself. The problem with Price taking his career to the next level is he has terrible stamina that undermines him in his fights. It didn’t use to be that way with Price earlier in his career. He was once capable of fighting hard without gassing, but since 2013, he’s been having problems. Tony Thompson walked Price down in stopping him in the 5th round in their rematch in July 2013. Thompson didn’t do anything special. He just put steady pressure on Price by hitting him frequently with slapping shots, forcing him to fight hard for the first four rounds until halting him in the 5th. Price has since gassed out against Christian Hammer in getting stopped in the 7th round last year in February 2017. That fight was there to be won by Price after he dropped Hammer in the 5th.
All Price had to do to win the fight was land a few more shots in the 5th and he would have had Hammer out of there. Instead, Price gassed out completely and was battered at will against a horrible-looking Hammer until the fight was stopped in the 7th. Hammer didn’t do anything special. He just took advantage of Price being utterly gassed out. In Price’s next figh after that, he gassed out against the light-hitting journeyman Kamil Sokolowski but he was still able to win the fight by a six round points decision. Afterwards, Price was so winded that he sounded like he needed oxygen while being interviewed after the fight. During the entire interview, which lasted several minutes, Price was gasping for breath.
Normally fighters are able to quickly settle down and start breathing normally after their fights, especially when they’re slow one-sided affairs like the Price-Sokolowski fight. Price was absolutely gasping for air, and it was sad to see because he did not look like he belonged inside a boxing ring in that kind of condition. In Price’s last fight, he gassed out against Povetkin last March, and was stopped in the 5th. The fight was there to be won for Price after he knocked Povetkin down in the 3rd round. But once again, Price faded badly and was fighting on fumes from the 4th round until he was knocked out in the 5th. It would have been interesting to have seen what Price could have done against Povetkin if his stamina was top notch. With Price’s huge size and punching power, he might have been able to finish off the much smaller and older Povetkin.
Price did some sparring with the heavy-handed Nathan Gorman. Hatton says Price looked “brilliant”, which makes me wonder whether Gorman was taking it easy on Price. With Gorman’s power, if he had gone after Price during the sparring, it’s hard not to imagine him knocking him out.
”Good rounds done with @DavidPrice_1 this morning ahead of he’s fight this Saturday,” Gorman said on his Twitter.
Well, if Price is knocked out by Kuzmin on Saturday night, which is what I expect, I would hope that he packs it in and retires from boxing. There’s no point in Price continuing on if he can’ beat the top tier heavyweights. Heck, Price can’t even beat the 2nd tier heavyweights either. His 2nd round knockout loss to Erkan Teper in 2015 proved that as much. That was Teper at his best, as he’s gone downhill since then in looking fat in losses to Derric Rossy and Mariusz Wach. However, I would pick Teper to KO Price once again if they were to fight each other now. The combination of Price’s poor punch resistance and his stamina problems would sink his ship against the flabby looking Teper.
My prediction for Saturday night is Kuzmin quickly getting to Price in the 2nd round in scoring a fast knockout victory. Price will land a few bombs, but he’ll ultimately gas out and get dropped badly by Kuzmin early on. If Price gets back to his feet, Kuzmin will finish him off straightaway in a highlight reel knockout. This will be a carbon copy of Prices knockout loss to Povetkin last March. The only difference is that Kuzmin will have the youth and willingness to get Price out of there much faster than Povetkin did. Povetkin appeared to be carrying Price in order to get some rounds in because he needed to get a tune-up to prepare for the stork-like 6’6” Joshua for their September 22 fight.